Iowa’s scenic byways offer beautiful vistas, authentic eats, historic sites, rich culture and now sixteen new public art installations in fifteen small towns.

Each community chose a theme for its art project, then sought artists with local ties to help make the visions three-dimensional—many of which are hands-on and interactive. In Belle Plaine, make music in the sound park. In Guttenberg, find the hidden main street map on the giant metal walleye. Grab lunch to go and picnic in the shade of Maquoketa’s wooden gables.

Each work of art makes a great addition to your weekend itinerary for exploring the back roads and historic downtowns of Iowa.

Made possible by the Byways of Iowa Public Art Initiative and more than 100 project partners, these art installations are ready for their close-ups (and your selfies)!


Geared Up, Anamosa, Iowa

Geared Up

Located at the corner of South Elm and East Main Street

Peer through this steel sculpture of a Grant Wood-style window, in which images of the river and landscape are inset with motorcycle parts from the  National Motorcycle Museum.

Artist: Cara Briggs Farmer
Byway: Grant Wood Scenic Byway

Belle Plaine

Sound Park, Belle Plaine, Iowa

Larry Schlue Memorial Sound Park

711 12th Street

Transportation is part of Belle Plaine’s history and identity. More than 70 trains pass through the downtown each day. In designing the sound park, the Belle Plaine born-and-raised artist was inspired by the trains he heard as a child. Make your own sound waves using the park’s interactive instruments, and experience how train whistles and rumbles reverberate in the space.

Did you know: If you speak softly into one of the whisper dishes, your friend standing next to the other one can hear what you say!

Artist: John Schlue
Byway: Iowa Valley Scenic Byway


Living Flowing Water Ever-Changing, Bellevue, Iowa

Living, Flowing Water, Ever-Changing

500 Block of South Riverview Drive

Overlooking the Mississippi River, this pair of sculptures represents historic steamboat smokestacks. Colorful, kinetic fish “swim around” the smokestacks in the wind.

Artist: Ronald K. Hansen
Byway: Great River Road and Grant Wood Scenic Byway


Jump In, Delhi, Iowa
Photo Courtesy Maggie Bergeson

Jump In

Corner of Franklin and 3rd Street, Delhi City Park

A steel archway created by late artist and resident Mike Seibert highlights the area’s family-friendly fishing, water skiing and lakeside activities.

Artist: Mike Seibert
Byway: Delaware Crossing Scenic Byway


Honey, Dubuque, Iowa


1685 Central Avenue

Just outside Dubuque’s first firehouse, this sculpture pays homage to the past and future of the neighborhood.

Artist: Abigail Hedley
Byway: Great River Road


Goeken Park Overlook, Eldorado, Iowa

Goeken Park Overlook

29191 Lincoln Road, West Union

In Goeken Park, which overlooks the community of Eldorado, this artistic steel fence illustrates the Turkey River Valley’s history, culture and ecological diversity.

Artist: Dennis McElree
Byway: River Bluffs Scenic Byway


Three Bells, Elkader, Iowa

Three Bells

211 South Main Street

Ring this interactive sound sculpture in Founders’ Park to echo the bells of the Clayton County Courthouse and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

Artist: Cara Briggs Farmer
Byway: River Bluffs Scenic Byway

Guthrie Center

Listen to the Wind, Guthrie Center, Iowa

Listen to the Wind

307 State Street

This sculpture moves with the wind in the spirit of the Native American proverb incorporated into its design: “Listen to the wind, it talks. Listen to the silence, it speaks. Listen to your heart, it knows.”

Artist: Hilde DeBruyne
Byway: Western Skies Scenic Byway


The Deepest Pattern, Guttenberg, Iowa

The Deepest Pattern

500 Block of South River Park Drive

This historic river town’s walleye sculpture is just a short walk from the DNR Aquarium, Lockmaster’s Heritage House Museum and Lock and Dam #10. Feeling outdoorsy? Catch a walleye of your own—the area offers prime fishing spots.

(Did you know: Those aren’t fish scales—they’re streets and city blocks! Hidden on the sculpture is a map of the downtown. Can you find it?)

Artist: Victoria Reed
Byway: River Bluffs Scenic Byway


Van Buren County Family Farm Art Tribute, Keosauqua, Iowa

Van Buren County Family Farm Art Tribute

20439 Highway 1

A large, barn-shaped sculpture celebrates the rich agricultural heritage of Van Buren County and expresses gratitude to area farmers for their longstanding efforts.

Artists: Van Buren County Artist Collaboration
Byway: Historic Hills Scenic Byway


Three Elements, Manchester, Iowa

Three Elements

314 West Main Street

Three steel sculptures portray sun, water, and agriculture—three elements critical to Manchester’s development and success.

Artist: Cara Briggs Farmer
Byway: Delaware Crossing Scenic Byway

Manchester Whitewater Park Mural

302 South 2nd Street

Whitewater Park Mural, Manchester, Iowa

This colorful, large-scale mural makes a splash by showing recreationists enjoying the Maquoketa River.

Artist: Dan Hatala
Byway: Delaware Crossing Scenic Byway


Gables, Maquoketa, Iowa


129-141 South Main Street

In the heart of Maquoketa’s downtown greenspace, this wooden structure provides outdoor seating and represents all residents of the “Timber City” living under the same roof of community.

Artist: Daniel Caven
Byway: Grant Wood Scenic Byway


Hometown to the World, Postville, Iowa

Hometown to the World

101 East Greene Street

Give the giant mosaic globe a spin, then look through each of the three surrounding teleidoscopes to create your own kaleidoscope experience. Follow the vibrant ocean currents to find the color-changing glass animals on their home continents, monuments like the Statue of Liberty and pyramids of Egypt, and the tiny heart in grassy green Iowa glass. This installation was inspired by the diversity of the Postville community.

Did you know: A teleidoscope is a type of kaleidoscope, with a lens and an open view. It creates kaleidoscopic patterns from objects outside of the instrument instead of inside. 

Artists: Steve & Peggy Kittelson
Byway: Driftless Area Scenic Byway


Crossroads, Waukon, Iowa


Corner of Main Street and Spring Avenue, Waukon Plaza

Inspired by colors represented in Native American culture and Waukon’s offset intersection, this steel and painted plexiglass sculpture plays on colors and shapes.

Artist: Cara Briggs Farmer
Byway: Driftless Area Scenic Byway


George Stout Memorial, Winterset, Iowa

George Stout Memorial

111 West Washington Street

This large book sculpture tells the story of George Stout, a Madison County resident made famous by George Clooney’s film “Monument Men.”

Artist: Michael Goodall
Byway: Covered Bridges Scenic Byway

Bonus Stop

Eagle's Nest Trail, Elgin, Iowa

Eagle’s Nest

Walking trail between Elgin and Clermont; 23493 Canoe Road

The installation that inspired it all! Located along the Turkey River Recreational Corridor Trail at Elgin, this was the inspiration for the statewide public art effort.

Byway: River Bluffs Scenic Byway

Learn more and plan your art-inspired day trips at